Show me the Whey to Build Muscle…

Athletes often use supplemental protein powder to build muscle but which kind and how much? Studies show that calorie intake is just as important as protein intake when trying to build muscle. Meaning that athletes must consume calories equal to or in excess of what is being burned through exercise and metabolic activities in order to build muscle. So don’t “diet” or reduce calorie intake if you are trying to build lean muscle the calories you burn.

The amount of protein consumed is of course important too. The general rule of thumb is about 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram body weight or 0.7 grams per pound of body weight daily. Some advocate for very high protein intake ie above 150-200 grams or more. Turns out that consuming that much protein is not helpful and in some instances may even be harmful.

Many different supplemental protein powders are on the market including whey, casein and soy. So which one works best for building muscle? In a head to head study whey hydrolysate, micellar casein or soy protein isolate, consumption of whey protein resulted in a larger increase in amino acids in the blood. Whey protein also resulted in greater muscle protein synthesis (MPS) both at rest and after exercise as compared to soy and casein. In fact MPS followed by whey consumption was 122% greater than casein!

Choosing a high quality whey protein is important. Protein powders and exercise enhancing supplements have been shown sometimes to have harmful additives and ingredients. One example is the recent crack down on DMAA. DMAA, also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, methylhexanamine or geranium extract, has been linked to high blood pressure and heart attacks and has been found on the shelves despite the warnings by the FDA. The bottom line..know what you are getting and from where.

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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